Businesses are continuously increasing, from small scale industries to big brands, seeking to carve a niche in the competitive marketplace. Marching on the track of revolutionizing technologies, every business is striving to survive and ascertain an esteemed dignity in the tug war of scaling enterprises. Losing a single record from the everyday expanding database abstain the growth of your business operations. Therefore, adopting an appropriate business strategy is the only way to safeguard your entire system from the risk of unpredictable disasters, be it hurricanes or earthquakes. 

As cloud and virtualization are creating buzz across industries, leading chief executives and technocrats are adopting the latest technology trends to improve their business bottom lines, besides ensuring security metrics. 

Data Growth: Creating an intensive need for secured environment


Data is a lifeblood of any company, providing a competitive edge and helping the businesses in building revenue stream. With impending benefits, companies have started to create, analyze and store more data. However, the data is coming with an alarming velocity and has become the biggest challenge to data centers today.  Therefore, companies now rely on modern data centers and technology to safeguard their critical information from natural calamities.    

Server virtualization

Server Virtualization is one of the most popular trends in reinventing your business and protecting your intensive applications from disasters. This technique allows companies to make one server act as multiple servers handling different aspects of the organization uninterruptedly. Along with cost benefits, server virtualization has made the disaster recovery easier.

Virtualization has transformed the overall IT infrastructure, promising hyper-scale capacity of the computing resources and the cooling savings. Chief features such as high availability, fault tolerance capacity and failsafe security are major aspects of the modern data center. In addition to this, virtualization ensures encapsulation in order to serve both mobility and portability. In order to ensure 24/7 availability for business-critical applications, the modern data centers virtualization technique has become a cornerstone. 

In order to create an effective DR planning, companies are now leaning towards virtualization. The most common principle today is that all the objectives of DR will be met along with high availability solutions. If you have cluster nodes available at distributed server locations, then it becomes easy for you to recover the data in real time in case any failure occurs at one node.

However, if the disaster scenarios are different such as loss of an entire site, loss of data, loss of individual data center, loss of a critical dependency or more, then you need a combination of technology to combat against all the scenarios. High Availability with Hyper-V technology requires that you create a DR plan carefully because it is a critical factor in achieving recoverability.

Disaster Recovery Methods

Physical to virtual conversion- Undeniably, virtualization provides unique recovery options. However, the problem comes with physical systems that are not good in virtualization. A System Centre Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) performs physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversions of Windows servers in order to create a bootable Hyper-V virtual machine. This bootable VM is an exact replica of the physical source server. In this way, you can achieve similar recovery times across your distributed workplace located in the same country as well as different counties.

Source: Microsoft

This planning is quite different than traditional bare metal restore technique in which your recovery location no longer requires the same number of physical server as your production premise contains. Also, you have the privilege to scale the hardware resources depending upon the disaster scenarios.

Virtual Machine Snapshots- A VM snapshot method provides a state in time to which you can trace back through disk differentiation and a copy of VM configuration file. In case of accidental data deletion inside the VM, it can be rolled back to the snapshot without causing any damage. 

Backing Up Hyper-V- Virtualization has multiple benefits pertaining to disaster recovery. Among them, one of the great benefits is the prospect that you are no longer required to individually backup the virtual systems. These systems basically act as a file residing on a host’s system. So, you can easily get back up of the files and call it when necessary. Well, it is not that easy because these virtual systems are live systems incorporating in-memory data, system configurations, open files and data on drive.

Solution: Ensuring data backup consistency to all the live systems

Host based backup: An important improvement to the Windows server backup picture arrived with Windows Server 2003 and with the advent of VSS (Virtual Switching system). It embraces a standard set of extensible APIs that VSS writers utilize in order to create backups of open files and programs. Through VSS service, the backup application can be generated in the form of point-in-time copy of a volume very easily and quickly. Importantly, Hyper-V comes with its own VSS writer that enables software vendors to create perfect backup solutions. This writer allows backup applications to achieve host-based VSS backups of running virtual systems. If the OS instances running under the VM comprises of Hyper-V Integration Components and VSS installed, then host based backup will occur. In case it runs inside the guest, then backup will be occurred with the VM running and data will remain consistent.

Guest based backup: Ordinarily, in a physical IT environment, servers and applications are backed up on individual basis. Though such backups can be performed in a virtualized datacenter; however, under such scenarios, the same considerations need to be taken into account while doing backup of a VM. For instance, during the backup process, network capacity requirements for networked-based backups can impact to the system. In guest based backup procedure, you are required to choose dedicated physical NIC in the host that is connected to a virtual network that all guest systems use.

The Bottom Line: Disaster Recovery is a grueling process. But, with the advent of server virtualization, there come new possibilities in terms of both technologies and the cost-effective entry points. With ever emerging challenges that organizations are facing, including DR, the server virtualization platform ensures the utmost safety.